Max: The Curse of Brotherhood ReviewXbox One
key review info
- Game: Max: The Curse of Brotherhood
- Platform: Xbox One
- Reviewed on:
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Max and the Magic Marker was a delightful little side-scrolling puzzle platformer with hand-drawn visuals that allowed Max to interact with his own little world.
With The Curse of Brotherhood, developer Press Play wants to improve the experience in many new ways, as the visuals are now completely 2.5D, so to say, and Max's marker has seen a dramatic overhaul in terms of powers.
After a pretty lengthy wait, the title has finally appeared on the Xbox One console from Microsoft, so it's time to see if Max can escape his curse or if his marker has run dry.
Max: The Curse of Brotherhood kicks off with a situation I'm sure most big brothers keenly remember: Max's little sibling has once again started playing with his toys so, obviously, revenge is in order. Unfortunately for Max, he stumbles upon an ancient curse that sees his brother transported to a new world filled with monsters led by the evil Mustacho.
Luckily for Max, he still has his nifty marker and, with the help of a little old lady, he can now manipulate the environment with it. From lifting pillars of stone, to creating tree branches and vines, or even manipulating currents of water, the marker mechanic has seen a big overhaul.
Alongside it, the world of the game has also been improved. Gone are the hand-drawn visuals, as they have been replaced by 2.5D environments that are explored by Max in a side-scrolling manner. The world looks quite good and there are plenty of puzzles and challenges scattered throughout it.
Most of the actual puzzles are relatively straightforward, but once you gain more and more powers, things get a little bit tricky, as the game requires plenty of combinations to continue on your journey.
The Curse of Brotherhood also manages to keep things simple, as Max can't directly use his marker to eliminate enemies. Instead, he must outsmart Mustacho's minions by using the environment and divert the attention of different bugs and animals that also populate the world.
From time to time, there are encounters with much bigger and more powerful foes, but in these cases you're mostly taken on a sprint towards some form of safe haven. These moments are a welcome change of pace from the regular gameplay, but they sometime require split-second thinking and use of the marker during slow-motion sequences, which doesn't exactly go according to plan.
There are a few platforming quirks here and there, as sometimes Max won't grab onto a vine or a tree branch even if he should. Other times, it's a bit hard to approximate just what you're running into, as the screen transitions to the next portion of the level with a tiny delay that sometimes means you're going to fall in a pit.
Max: The Curse of Brotherhood manages to keep things fresh by changing the environment, enemies, puzzles, or powers in a pretty rapid pace, so there's no chance of you getting bored. Sure, some sections and enemies are a bit tedious, like the annoying fireflies, but the whole journey is a lot of fun.
In terms of visuals, the game looks pretty good and manages to keep a solid framerate. There are, however, some lower quality textures here and there, especially when things zoom in on Max. Even so, it's nothing serious. There are plenty of visual effects and tiny things, like dust being blown away by the wind, which add to the immersion.
The soundtrack is also pretty decent but it's nothing out of the ordinary. Voice acting is good, and Max does manage to channel a bit of Nathan Drake from the Uncharted series, especially in terms of dialog and witty one-liners.
Max: The Curse of Brotherhood is a great side-scrolling puzzle platformer. Max's marker has come a long way since the original game and you'll have a blast exploring the game's world and using all the different abilities. There are a few bugs in terms of gameplay and the visuals don't scream next-gen, but it's still a great investment.